[Comp G] Blast Miner

edited in Online Competitions & Jams

Current version: 1.0 (final compo entry)
Windows build: manikingames.com/blastminer/BlastMiner1.0_win.zip
OSX build: manikingames.com/blastminer/BlastMiner1.0_osx.zip

Controls: Move the mouse, create an explosion by left-clicking

Blast Miner is my attempt at a physics-based game, with an emphasis on trying to make something simple and fun. The idea is to blast a falling gem up a twisting mine shaft, avoiding obstacles and collecting various powerups to help you in your journey upwards. You accumulate score by sending the gem higher up the shaft.

Let me know your feedback, thanks!


  • Played the first version in the office yesterday and it's fun :) Looking forward to trying this now with the more complex routes and water at the bottom :D
  • This is a really clever idea! I hit 706 before I got bored :D

    I felt like the explosion radius didnt match my expectations - I expected a linear falloff from the mouse cursor to the radius of the octagon, so it was maybe a bit more finicky than I would have liked, but it's a really cool concept!

    I could see this being polished into a really cool mobile game.
  • I just love this so much..

    The game obviously in a very early stage but here is some feedback :
    1) How about instead of adding force from the exact point the mouse is, you add force from just below the mouse position. This will make it a tiny bit less frustrating.

    2) I think it will be really cool if you add some more mechanics like : a fan or geyser that blows the square in a certain direction, spikes and lava you need to avoid, a automatic explosion block that pushes the square up if it lands on it, moving blocks, magnets.. etc...

    3) What do you think about having the water follow you as you climb ? Then you could explore a sort of layered score system where you accumulate a temporary score while you are climbing and when you fail and fall back down into the water (which is just below you) that score gets added to your main score. This acts as a check point system as well which decreases the frustration of falling down a large distance.

    4) Juice it or loose it ;)

    You said you might not add a win or loose state but I feel like you should. I think this will make the game feel more complete and it provides the player with a natural stopping point.

    I apologize that I threw so many suggestions at you, but I think this has some serious potential !

    PS : Why does the procedural generation stop after a score of 360 ? Do you generate the level at startup ?
  • Okay, I must have watched the loop 5 or 6 times hoping you'd make it past the nook this time around... Then I realised it was a gif.
  • @dammit
    Thanks! I'm sure I'll have a more complete version to show you guys on Tuesday :)

    Awesome! Thanks for that point re: the explosion radius. I haven't tried a linear falloff yet, so I'll test it and see how it feels.
    I was thinking about mobile too, so I'll do that if I stick with it.

    Thank you! The more suggestions the better :)
    1) An interesting idea. Do you mean that the explosion force is still radial, but the "crosshair" center is offset slightly downwards to give the player a little bit of leeway when targeting the gem? That could definitely makes things easier.

    2) These are great, thanks. I have a few similar mechanics on my list: bouncy pads, time-slowing and bigger explosion powerups, and possibly something like a skeleton arm that grabs at the gem if it comes too close. I'll play around with a bunch of these.

    3) This is actually really close to an idea I had a few days ago. I was originally planning some sort of bridge checkpoint thing that spans the chasm, but then I figured I already have the water. My idea is to have a blocked up pipe or something every 300 odd metres. You can unblock it by creating a bunch of explosions on it, at which point water fills up to it's position, which acts as the checkpoint. For now, I'd rather not accumulate the score, keeping it as a metric of how high you can get the gem.

    4) Totally! Plenty of juice on the way! :)

    I'm still not really sure what to do about a lose state. My idea is to have a high score table, so I don't mind having no win state. As far as a lose state goes, I was interested to see how players might react to a "give up" button, given that in playing it, you get this sense of frustration when the gem falls back down. So a high score essentially includes your ability to not rage quit. But I don't know, this feels a bit silly. I'll see what evolves out of it in future builds.

    The obstacle generation stopping is a deep-rooted issue, whose origin is a lazy programmer who decided to loop through a 100 iterations of obstacle generation, and figure the rest of it out later :P I'll add in continuous generation in a future build.

    Haha yep, I didn't realise how similar those start and end frames are!


    Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm going to work on adding a few gameplay features, and explosion visual, and a few other simple things, and I'll post another build.

    Thanked by 1dammit
  • image
    Updated the first post with a new build, including goodies!

    - Time slowing and large explosion power ups
    - Water based checkpoints (activated by repeatedly causing explosions on a pipe)
    - Explosion effect (camera shake pending)
    - Some physics tweaks and other bits and pieces

    Some focussed feedback questions:
    1) The lose state - should there be one? What should it be? Timed? Limited number of explosions? Manual give up button? Something else?
    2) The explosion feel - does it feel right? Any suggestions?

    Thanks all
  • edited
    Those explosion particles and shock-wave effects are awesome. I like it a lot. Feels realistic, even though you're utilising primitive shapes. Would it be possible to maybe redirect the purple block to hit specific surface mounted items on the side for bonus points/objectives?

    Eagerly anticipating anything to do with camera shake, glad to see it is in the pipeline... ;-P

    Edit: Losing state could be as a result of shield depletion due to items dropping from above that deteriorates the shield perhaps?
  • edited
    Feeling way better in v0.2 far less frustrating, except when it falls down, past camera and you can't do anything then I feel frustrated again.
    The explosion is tasty, I would lose the second sphere in favor of a second smaller particle type that flies further also think a distortion field would take it to the next level.
    I like the give up button for the lose state over any of the other lose conditions you mentioned, it's a little stab at the player to try one more time, I like it :D
    Still waiting for the skeleton hand.
    Could be rad to have a small little gap on the side that if you can blast the little thing in there it gets taken by an air lift higher so you gain height freely for x points or whatever until the lift rejoins the main chasm. I think it's a cool pacing opportunity and it's another reward for the player. You do have the little nooks that offer breathing time but without the reward of points, they are cool though because they sometimes catch the gem when it falls, which makes point 1 less frustrating.
    Keep track and show the best score at the start of the game.
    Up to 642! :D
  • And another idea:

    Have combos! So if the player blast the cube higher and higher without touching the sides, you get a skill bonus (not sure how that would materialise, maybe just some text saying "AWESOME SHOT" or something) but as soon as the cube hits the edge, you lose the bonus.
  • Thanks for the feedback guys.

    I like the idea of having some kind of targets on the sides. I've currently got the powerups, and have just been experimenting with bouncy moss pads. However, at this point they may prove too random in their benefit, because it's difficult to aim for them specifically. I'm thinking of possibly adding a simple collectable (gold coin or something) to encourage more sideways movement. These could sit towards the sides.

    Thanks for the idea re: a shield. Lately, I've been thinking about adding obstacles that destroy your gem in some way or another. Having no gems left would trigger the lose state. Then, there would be the odd gem embedded in a rock, which you can dislodge with an explosion. Will give it some more thought though.

    Yeah, the camera thing is a must, but I'm struggling with trying to get it to update properly without frame glitching.
    I'll mess around with the explosion as per your tip.
    Skeleton hand is coming soooooonn....
    I like the lift shaft idea from a environment/visual point of view, but my current plan is to have a "wind blast" powerup that adds a wind force below the gem for a time. That way, the player's not waiting for the lift shaft to do it's thing, and can still collect powerups and whatnot.
    Lastly, the score - I originally wanted to have a simple online high score table, which would've been rad to keep track of at this early stage. But I should still be able to get it in, and thus dominate the leaderboards!

    Cool! I'll give that some thought... I do like the idea of rewarding the player for getting continuous momentum upwards.

    I'll upload a new build, either today or tomorrow. Thanks again all!

  • Alright, I've uploaded a new build, which includes some awesome audio by @Mexicanopiumdog! This is just a first audio pass, so there's more of his magic incoming.

    Other additions/changes:
    - Added a wind blast powerup, which sends the gem floating upwards
    - Added bouncy mosspads, or alien slimes (whichever you prefer)
    - Tweaked the physics to make it easier to keep a falling gem up
    - Made pipes take more hits to burst
    - Visual additions - vignetting and bloom, subtle background color shift
    - Other juicing like camera shake and water splashes
    Thanked by 1dammit
  • So I've uploaded a final build before I go off on holiday! There's a lot more I wanted to do to the game, especially in terms of the challenge progression (see below). I also wanted to add a few more quirky obstacles and fix a few annoying issues, but this will have to do for my final entry. I'm still really happy with the result, and I'd like to take it a little further if people dig it.

    What I'm still really unsure about is everything related to the difficulty curve and general progression in the game. I didn't have a clear idea for a lose state at first, so all I have as far as increasing difficulty goes, is obstacles that spawn more and more frequently with height. In combination with the tricky initial gem control, I feel like there's a weird difficulty curve: it's tricky to get the gem moving upwards, but after that you can just grind your way on, facing very little in the way of increasing challenges. In any case, have a go and let me know what you think in terms of this.

    New stuff:
    - Added thieving skeleton arm (steals your gem, makes you lose)
    - Added nasty grinder sawblade thing (kills your gem, makes you lose)
    - Added some prebuilt level sections in amongst the random ones, for some extra challenges
    - Added online high scores
    - Added menu and repeatable game loop
    - Tweaked some more of the physics and explosions
    - Tweaked some audio
    Thanked by 2dammit Nitrogen
  • edited
    Played a few times. What a great game! Love the feel of it and the unique gameplay. Part of what I really liked about the experience was discovering the game mechanics as I went. It took me a while to work out what was what - especially the waterfall things (which I think are so clever by the way, they sort of take the place of a "save game"). Without having to know anything about the game before you start playing, the mechanics are so well communicated as you play. Also like the way remnants of stuff you've destroyed are left lying there.

    There's not much space to click under the gem when it's falling, perhaps the camera could be a bit more forgiving?

    My click-pad on my laptop sucks for games so I ended up playing on my touchscreen - that was a really nice experience - are you considering making it for mobile?

    Really enjoyable, and so well polished.
  • I can't tell how pleasantly surprise I was with your game. I have played so many games that use this exact same mechanic, but never have I seen it executed with so much care and attention to detail.

    From the moment you start with that satisfying "sploosh" out of the water, destroying pipe grates to create save points, getting that 3 or 4 perfect clicks that just sends you racing upward, everything just feels amazing. The juice added is just the right amount, the bright colours of important objects against the muted dark background. All the powerups help to make the feeling of ascending even more rewarding.

    The audio also perfectly compliments the mood of the game. The pipes as you explode against them, the "tink" as you bounce off the walls.

    You've taken a dead simple mechanic and executed the hell out of it.
    Well done!
  • Hi guys,

    Thanks so much, really glad you’re finding it enjoyable! The goal here was to try and make something quite fun, and with some good replayability, so I’m happy it seems to be accomplishing that.

    Awesome, thanks! I’m glad you like the way those mechanics are introduced and communicated. I’ll keep that in mind when adding new mechanics in future versions. I’d also like to keep everything in line with the cave/mine theme (ie. rising water as save points, cave slime as bouncy pads), but currently the powerups violate that a bit - not really sure what I can do about that though.

    You’re right, the camera does need a lot of work. I’d like to tackle that pretty soon (I struggled getting it to lerp properly, to follow the gem without glitching out).

    I’m so glad you tried it and enjoyed in on a touch screen! I definitely had mobile in mind when starting this, so it’s great that you tried it with touch, even just on a laptop screen. I’ll keep the thread updated with any mobile builds I play around with in future :)

    Thanks man! You’re still dominating the leaderboards ;P

    I’m glad you like it, and thanks for the feedback. @Mexicanopiumdog is responsible for the brilliant audio, and there’s more of it on the way, so I’ll keep you guys updated.
  • I made a video of my play through, this time with commentary! (My first ever)

    Thanked by 1Mexicanopiumdog
  • Awesome thanks @Fengol, I dig the play through :)
  • Amazing game! I reckon this one will take the prize :)
    Online leaderboard, everything is really polished and tight.
    Well done!

    Pieter I'm coming for your score bro.
  • I decided to give it a try last night and I was shocked to see the amount of content in your game that is not shown in this thread which I think is vital for attracting people to play the game. I always wondered checking out the screenshots on how do you actually die or can you just keep going and going.

    I really enjoyed the death traps as it gives you time to react. The hand grabs you and you can still escape it and the blades only spin a second after you see them.

    Things I found confusing or needed more work.
    * The extra "lives" or blocks. I never know if it got destroyed falling down into hands
    * I got an extra live that fell to the bottom of the stage, when I died and it switched to it I found there was no water. Then I got to a point where I reached the water floating in mid air
    * It is very difficult to open up the water blocks and didn't feel like a useful plan to waste time opening them up as they provide very little help
    * At one point I reached 1015 meters and there was a extra ball at 600 meters. Felt frustrated to have to go up all that way again with no sense of accomplishment as the meters stayed at 1015 until I got back there. I would recommend another indicator showing the player how far to go to reach that point again or maybe a suicide button to keep the 1015 score without going up all the way again.

    Keep it up. Really well designed game
  • Hi all, sorry for the late reply!

    @Japes Thanks very much! It's great to see everyone getting into the competitive spirit with the leaderboards. It was more of an experiment in creating something with a minor social element, but fun nonetheless.

    @Zaphire Thanks for the feedback, that's great.
    The delay on the various traps was largely to combat the poor camera following, but even with this sorted out, the gem moves so fast sometimes that I think it's best to keep that delay to give the player time to react.
    - The extra gems/lives: Yes, they do get destroyed falling down into hands/blades, although I'd like to change that so that a dislodged gem gets auto set a safe spot in the water below. The player should be rewarded for dislodging a gem, and it gets really confusing to have it fall below and get lost without your control.
    - The water: I'll fix that - was being lazy and moving the water volume up, leaving a space beneath :o
    But as per the above point, I'd rather keep fallen gems at the water level anyway
    - The pipes/checkpoints: I feel the same way at an early stage of the game, but as things get harder further up, I think they may become useful in keeping that height. They also get further apart as you go higher, so they should become more necessary later on. I had them appear quite frequently at the beginning to accommodate players who were trying to get used to the control system.
    - Having to catch up to a previous spot: Again, this should be solved by not having the gems drop below the water line of the last checkpoint you've opened. But there is still definitely some frustration with having to catch up again, with no apparent progression happening until you hit your previous height. Not really sure what to do with this in future, but I'll bear that point in mind.

    Thanks for the feedback guys!
  • Manikin said:

    - Having to catch up to a previous spot: Again, this should be solved by not having the gems drop below the water line of the last checkpoint you've opened. But there is still definitely some frustration with having to catch up again, with no apparent progression happening until you hit your previous height. Not really sure what to do with this in future, but I'll bear that point in mind.
    For this I would recommend a second counter that maybe shows "200 meters to go" to catch up to the previous height
  • I liked this. A lot of the feedback I would like to give, has already been shared. Think there was some missed opportunities with this, such as different shaped gems. So instead of just a cube/diamond, there could have been a triangle circle etc. You could have also played around with physic materials too. I like the juice, especially the growing sphere that accompanies the exploding squares. Controls were tight too. Well done!!
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